As traditional newsrooms shrink, many brands seek to take control of their media coverage through the creating media of their own. Creating a brand newsroom allows for the expansion and distribution of content in a central location, while fulfilling an information need for various audiences.
During our Aug. 22 PRNEWS Webinar, “Boost Coverage With Your Own Brand Newsroom,” Jennifer Nycz-Conner, director of brand communications at Hilton, Kevin Deane, digital design director at Northeastern University, and Jen Schertz, senior communications manager for Certified Angus Beef, discussed their journeys to build and nourish in-house brand newsrooms for their organizations that gain the attention of the appropriate audiences.
Hearing about the approaches from a global corporation to a niche product with a small communications team, webinar attendees learned everything from storytelling and design to analytics, team building and engaging patrons.
Go Beyond the Press Release
Hilton’s brand newsroom strategy began by consolidating 14 different newsrooms into one central command center, to create a single source for company news with consistent tone, voice and structure. Hilton’s storytelling strategy to fill that newsroom began with the identification of four content pillars including innovation, growth, purpose and people.
Nycz-Conner said the newsroom team is encouraged to think like journalists, and with much of the team hailing from that background, that wasn’t too much to ask. They encourage writers to go beyond the press release.
“The what is cool, but the why is the story,” she said. “We’re in the business of telling Hilton stories, not 'stories by Hilton.' If you take Hilton out and the story still exists, it’s not one worth our time telling.”
Data Doesn’t Lie
The brand newsroom team at Northeastern University utilized a robust data dashboard and content management system, allowing for real-time, daily updates to guide content strategy. At the project’s onset Deane combed through three years of data including page views, engagement and age demographics. Deane found that more students engaged with the website in October, rather than when they started school in August. And because of that they pushed larger editorial projects to launch at that busier time.
Deane works to create easily consumable reports, and design overall plays a large part in gaining the media’s attention. Utilizing data, they can create compelling stories related to the public interest that go outside the norm regarding content and design.
“A homepage is important, but content pages are going to get much more of the attention,” Deane said.
Maximize Your Newsroom Team
Sure, all of this sounds great, granted you have the resources to create all this content, right? Schertz, who works on a very small marketing team, knows this firsthand—she not only serves as a senior communications manager, but also managing editor of the brand newsroom.
For Schertz, the process started with defining the audiences Certified Angus Beef wanted to reach. In its unique space, they could provide content for not only the media but also B2B and consumers interested in the brand. When creating content they ask, “what’s in it for the audience?” What are the needs, resources or unique experiences your brand can provide?
From there, Schertz organized her very small team of contributors, as well as occasional freelancers, by establishing beats and creating an editorial calendar, so she always knew what was coming down the pipeline.
Ultimately, Schertz determined that their goals are not to deliver the most beef content of any purveyor online. She believes quality improves when less is more. “Writing less with intent," she said, "is better than writing more just because you can.”
Visit our website for a download of this full webinar.